The business community has long favored internships for their ability to attract, train, and evaluate potential employees, and as the world becomes increasingly digital, so have these programs. Small, web-based companies, particularly marketing and communications firms,
were the first to adopt the idea of the virtual internship. Interns participating in these programs work remotely. This comes with many benefits; virtual interns don’t take up office resources and can work from anywhere, allowing companies to effectively expand their talent pool nationally, if not globally. While large Fortune 500 companies have been slow to pick up the trend, Lauren Berger, CEO of InternQueen.com, an internship job board, says that virtual internship listings have increased threefold during the past few years. "Offering virtual internships opens your search up to a much larger pool of applicants and allows you to be really selective," Berger said. However, there are several pitfalls to avoid when working with a virtual intern. "Even if they're remote, if you're hiring virtual interns, they deserve to be a priority for your company and need to be given proper attention," Berger said. "With technology and a well-structured work plan for our interns, they function extremely efficiently as part of our team."